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Overview

Calfee provides clients with comprehensive and strategic advice to address both immediate and longer term environmental issues. Calfee’s Ohio and federal experience provides clients with permitting and litigation advice with a clear understanding as to how the resolution of these issues will affect their overall business objectives.

Our Environmental Practice is anchored by a former Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, who bolsters our in-depth knowledge of the environmental landscape with his insights.

We balance our specialized knowledge of various industries with our acquired business acumen to provide comprehensive and strategic counsel. Our attorneys address immediate environmental issues at hand – such as Ohio and federal permitting and compliance, proposed rules and changes, and litigation concerns – while counseling clients on how the resolution of these issues will affect their overall business objectives.

Our team's core strength stems from four differentiating areas:

  • We have in-depth knowledge of the entire environmental landscape, including from the insights of a former Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
  • We are integrated within one of Ohio’s top business and litigation law firms, as ranked annually by Chambers USA Legal Guide.
  • Our environmental team is large enough to take on big companies with big environmental challenges yet focused enough to be nimble and flexible in our approach to advising clients of any size.
  • We are a leading firm for advice on site remediation programs including CERCLA, RCRA, and Ohio’s voluntary clean-up program.

Our Environmental Practice represents publicly and privately held corporations, municipalities, public agencies, and trade associations. Our clients are engaged in a variety of businesses including metals manufacturing and finishing, waste disposal and wastewater treatment, real estate development and lending, chemical and plastics manufacturing, industrial gases, paints and coatings, and minerals and mining.

Noteworthy

Chambers USA

Environmental Law practice Co-Leader, Christopher Jones, is ranked in Band 2 for Natural Resources & Environment in Ohio in Chambers USA 2020. "Christopher Jones's strength includes 'his great knowledge of the local regulatory environment and procedures,' where he benefits from prior experience serving as the Director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. He provides market-leading expertise in various permitting, compliance and remediation matters."

William E. Coughlin, Co-Leader of Calfee's Environmental Law practice, is ranked in Band 4 for Natural Resources & Environment in Ohio in Chambers USA 2020. "William Coughlin is 'an expert in environmental litigation,' where he is praised for his ability to 'leverage his vast experience to identify and exploit deficiencies in claims to achieve favorable settlements.' He regularly represents corporate and public sector clients in Superfund matters."

U.S. News – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firm" Rankings

Calfee was selected for inclusion in the 2020 "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S.News–Best Lawyers in America for Environmental Law (Metropolitan Tier 1 Columbus, Metropolitan Tier 3 Cleveland).

Professionals

Experience

Experience

Clients

A few of Calfee's Environmental Law clients include:

  • Carboline Company
  • Catholic Diocese of Cleveland
  • CIBC
  • City of Dayton, Ohio
  • City of Youngstown, Ohio
  • DiGeronimo Companies
  • Ferro Corporation
  • Hemisphere Development
  • Independence Excavating
  • Kirker Enterprises, Inc.
  • L.D. Kichler
  • Linsalata Capital Partners
  • Morrison Products, Inc.
  • Neenah Foundry
  • Praxair, Inc.
  • RPM International Inc.
  • Rust-Oleum Corporation
  • Shelly & Sands, Inc.
  • State of Ohio
  • Sunoco, Inc.
  • Union Carbide Corporation

Recent Work

  • Rust-Oleum Corporation, and its predecessor Testors — Calfee has been retained as successor counsel to represent Rust-Oleum at the Acme Farms Disposal Site, a National Priority List Superfund Site located in Rockford, IL. Calfee was asked to step in to facilitate reorganization of the Site PRP Group. The objective is to refocus the Group’s work on site closure/delisting by USEPA after 30 years of unsuccessful efforts. A unique complication is the recent Illinois EPA approval of construction of a solid waste landfill surrounding the Superfund site.
  • Carboline Company and Sunoco, Inc.United States v. Dayton Industrial Drum, et al., Case No. 3:16-cv-00232-WHR (S.D. Ohio). The Lammers Barrel PRP Group v. Carboline Company, et al., Case No. 3-17-cv-00135-WHR (S.D. Ohio). In these related lawsuits, Calfee represents both Carboline and Sunoco with respect to allegations by USEPA and the PRP Group that an alleged predecessor arranged for disposal of hazardous substances at, and was a former owner of, the Lammers Barrel Superfund Site near Dayton, Ohio, where, after 33 years of investigation by USEPA and its consultants, no final remedy has been implemented.
  • Union Carbide Corporation and Praxair, Inc. — Calfee continues to represent (since 1986) this wholly owned subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company as well as Praxair in their participation in the nationally precedent-setting Great Lake Legacy Act (alternative to Superfund) cleanup of the Ashtabula River and the cleanup of Fields Brook, a tributary of the Ashtabula River. A public/private partnership leveraged funds to dredge contaminated sediment from an urban riverbed much more cost-effectively than under the Superfund Program on including completion of natural resource damage recovery activities.
  • Linsalata Capital Partners — Calfee has represented this large, Ohio-based private equity fund since 1985 in the environmental due diligence and related negotiations in all purchases and divestitures of its operating businesses, with combined revenues in excess of $2 billion.
  • Praxair, Inc. — Calfee has negotiated a critical Clean Water Act Section 316(b) permit renewal for the Praxair Ashtabula, Ohio facility, which involved a creative approach to the permit renewal and development of data to support an exemption from onerous permitting requirements, which would have been applicable. Taking a two-year permit in 2016 rather than the normal five-year National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit allowed Praxair to coordinate with another company with a later renewal date for its NPDES permit. In turn, this allowed both companies to share the cost of the necessary studies to support an exemption from the more onerous Section 316(b) permit requirements.
  • RPM International Inc. — Calfee has represented this Fortune 500 paint, coatings and related industrial and consumer products holding company as general counsel since the 1960s, and specifically with respect to environmental, the nationwide management of its subsidiaries’ offsite and legacy environmental liabilities.
  • Catholic Diocese of Cleveland — Calfee represents the Diocese with respect to efforts by a neighboring real estate developer to investigate, and if necessary, remediate, potential soil gas contamination migrating onto church and school property under Ohio’s voluntary remedial action program.

Brownfield Redevelopment

Calfee has extensive experience in brownfield redevelopment projects across Ohio. Our attorneys have counseled clients on creative redevelopment strategies, which allow clients to redevelop sites in cost-effective, timely, and protective manner. Calfee also has extensive experience with Ohio’s Voluntary Action Program, the State’s voluntary cleanup program, as well as with CERCLA and RCRA cleanups under both State and Federal oversight. Chris Jones also has served as an expert witness in two major remediation cases.

Solid and Hazardous Waste

The environmental attorneys at Calfee have wide-ranging experience with solid and hazardous waste issues, laws and regulations. We advise individuals, companies and municipalities on all laws, guidance and issues relating to CERCLA (“Superfund”), unregulated hazardous waste sites, hazardous substance inventories, solid and hazardous waste generation, solid and hazardous waste treatment, disposal and transport, RCRA, underground storage tanks, and all state and local legal equivalents.

In addition to compliance counseling, we also defend clients when they fall subject to CERCLA and RCRA enforcement or administrative actions or RCRA negotiations involving the RCRA Penalty Matrix to reduce penalty assessments.

  • Superfund/unregulated hazardous waste sites
  • Emergency planning and community right-to-know
  • Hazardous substance inventories
  • Solid and hazardous waste treatment and disposal
  • Underground storage tanks

Representative Solid and Hazardous Waste Matters

  • Represented RCRA permittees in negotiations concerning permit conditions.
  • Represented RCRA permittees in proceedings before Ohio EPA concerning closure plans and activities.
  • Represented RCRA permittees in administrative enforcement proceedings before Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA.
  • Represented private parties named as PRPs under CERCLA with regard to various multi-party Superfund sites.
  • Represented a publicly traded industrial gases manufacturer in litigation and administrative proceedings relating to a multi-party Superfund site where onsite incineration was a component of the remedy.
  • Represented a subsidiary of a major chemical manufacturer in administrative and contempt proceedings brought by the State of Ohio relating to a RCRA closure and groundwater remediation.
  • Provided counsel to landfill owners and operators on solid waste compliance matters involving limits of waste placement, cell construction, liner integrity, permitting and disposal practices.
  • Represented a closely held coatings company and its principal in a state-led felony prosecution relating to alleged hazardous waste disposal.
  • Represented a publicly traded metals manufacturer in a private cost recovery action against a multinational oil company to obtain reimbursement of costs for TCE soil and groundwater contamination remediation.
  • Represented a manufacturer in a RCRA enforcement case to reduce proposed penalties/fines in negotiations with government regulators using the RCRA Penalty Matrix.
  • Counseled various clients on RCRA compliance matters and established RCRA compliance programs for generators and treatment, storage and disposal facilities.
  • Represented landfill owners and operators in solid waste enforcement cases in Ohio.
  • Represented private parties and local governments with regard to underground storage tank regulation and remediation.

Water/Wetlands/Air

  • Storm water runoff
  • Effluent treatment and discharge/NPDES/POTW
  • Groundwater investigation and remedial action
  • Drinking water
  • Wetlands identification and protection
  • Coastal protection and development
  • Air emissions identification, permitting and control
  • Noise and nuisance control and abatement

Litigation and Enforcement Proceedings

  • Environmental contractual indemnity claims
  • Citizen suits and class actions
  • Civil and criminal proceedings
  • Administrative hearings and appeals
  • Toxic torts

Representative Environmental Litigation Matters

The following represents a sample of some of our recent environmental litigation matters:

  • Large Ohio municipality in defense of Clean Water Act SSO/CSO claims brought by Ohio and the United States resulting in a Consent Decree resolving thousands of days of violations with a $60,000 civil penalty and an extended construction schedule patterned after the city’s Long-Term Control Plan.
  • Closely held coatings company and its principal in a state-led felony prosecution relating to alleged hazardous waste disposal.
  • Publicly traded industrial gases manufacturer in litigation and administrative proceedings relating to a multi-party Superfund site where on-site incineration was a component of the remedy.
  • Fortune 200 chemical and plastics manufacturer in litigation and administrative proceedings relating to a multi-party Superfund site involving claims of surface water, stream sediment and wetlands contamination.
  • Subsidiary of a major chemical manufacturer in administrative and contempt proceedings brought by the State of Ohio relating to a RCRA closure and groundwater remediation.
  • Suburban municipality in Clean Water Act litigation relating to improvements to its POTW and NPDS permit compliance.
  • Publicly traded metals manufacturer in a private cost recovery action against a multinational oil company to obtain reimbursement of costs for TCE soil and groundwater contamination remediation.
  • Suburban municipality in negotiations relating to resolution of alleged violations of a Clean Water Act federal consent decree and judicial termination of the decree.
  • Container manufacturer in administrative proceedings concerning U.S. Department of Transportation hazardous materials labeling compliance.
  • Privately held carbon products manufacturer at a Superfund site involving alleged trans-shipment and reclamation of hazardous substances.
  • Closely held paint manufacturer in state-led enforcement proceedings involving the remediation and closure of a municipal landfill.
  • Subsidiary of multinational corporation in defense of a class action involving claims of widespread personal injury and property damage arising out of an explosion and fire on a transporter’s vehicle while traveling on an interstate highway.

Clean Air Act

Clean Air Act

Calfee’s environmental attorneys are experienced in representing large and small companies on Clean Air Act issues. Our clients’ operations range from steelmaking to manufacturing of chemicals and coatings, metal containers, tires, medical devices and hot-mix asphalt to hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal. Regardless of the industry, our experience allows us to assist clients with all of their Clean Air concerns—whether proactive or reactive action is necessary.

We help clients respond to questions involving major and minor source permitting issues, permit appeals, agency inspections and requests for information. We also defend Clean Air Act judicial and administrative enforcement actions. Our areas of expertise include Title V, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, New Source Review/Prevention of Significant Deterioration, State Implementation Plans and Stratospheric Ozone.

Representative Experience
  • Advise a publicly-traded manufacturer of steel and steel products on a variety of Clean Air Act compliance issues, including permitting requirements for installation of new equipment, stack testing and continuous emission monitoring.
  • Negotiated settlement of enforcement action that alleged a hot-mix asphalt plant had failed to apply for a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit. Under the settlement, the company was able to avoid PSD permitting.
  • Represent various asphalt plants in challenges to Permits to Install challenging the permits’ imposition of separate emission limits based upon individual fuel types, as well as a number of ancillary issues.
  • Represent a closely-held pharmaceutical manufacturer against allegations of violating the Clean Air Act provisions limiting the use of ozone-depleting substances.
  • Defended a manufacturer of steel castings for various heavy industrial uses against allegations of civil violation of the Clean Air Act, as well as a related criminal investigation.
  • Defended a hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility against allegation that it had failed to obtain a Title V permit.

Clean Water Act

Clean Water Act

Calfee’s environmental attorneys have extensive knowledge of state and federal water regulatory issues and water quality standards. We counsel companies and municipalities to keep them compliant on all issues related to the Clean Water Act, including Sections 401 and 404 and Ohio isolated wetland permit counseling and negotiation, municipal combined sewer and sanitary sewer overflows control plans, water quality standards, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), and defense of enforcement cases and administrative appeals related to NPDES permits, injection well permits, and 208 Plans.

Representative Experience

  • Representing municipalities in defense of U.S. EPA enforcement proceedings and consent decree related to SSO/CSO and various sanitary sewer tie-in issues.
  • Represented a privately held public drinking water system in adjudication proceedings before the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Successfully defended municipality in administrative permit appeal related to compliance with state water quality plans.
  • Represented municipality in challenge to Permits to Install for sanitary sewer extensions involving state water quality plan compliance and annexation issues.
  • Successfully defended and resolved state enforcement action against public land owner on issues related to discharges to waters of the State.
  • Counseled and resolved enforcement action related to compliance with Ohio injection well permits for private entity.
  • Counseled and assisted private and public clients in obtaining Section 404 permits, Ohio isolated wetlands permits, individual and general NPDES permit coverage and injection well permits.

News & Events

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"The Environmental team provides in-depth support that goes beyond the level of service you anticipate from outside counsel. They're outstanding."
Chambers USA Insights Report 2020

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